TABLE 1 Abortion Laws in Transitional and Posttransitional Countries, 1970 Stage of Demographic Development Laws Transitional Posttransitional Restrictive Asian countries except Japan Northern American countries3 laws African countries Western European countries Latin American countries Southern European countries Oceanic countries Jberalized Tunisia (since 1966) Northern European countries laws Mainland China (1960's) (since 1930's) Potentially India (1970?) Eastern European countries Potentially Chile (1970?) including U.S.S.R. (since 1955) Japan (since 1948) aBy mid-1970 a number of states in the United States had liberalized their abortion aws in varying degrees. Included were New York, Maryland, Hawaii, North Carolina, jeorgia, California. ibortion statistics are incomplete, unreliable, or both. Whenever possible, iata from the less developed countries are used; insofar as appropriate, data Tom the more developed countries are analyzed as well. THE PREVALENCE OF INDUCED ABORTION IN TRANSITIONAL SOCIETIES It is the author's opinion that when developing societies are highly moti-/ated to accelerate their transition from high to low fertility, induced abor-:ion becomes such a popular method of fertility control that it becomes a and of epidemic. In examining this proposition, both posttransitional and :ransitional countries are considered. Japan is cited to illustrate possible :rends of abortion amidst rapid and profound demographic, social, and eco-lomic change. The paucity of abortion data for the period in which other ieveloped countries passed through the transitional stage in the 18th and 19th centuries, however, precludes an examination of demographic correlates }f abortion in western societies. Similarly, we have almost no data on the incidence of abortion in developing countries before the transitional periodóbefore death rates began to de-dine. Furthermore, current statistics are often inadequate. However, recent studies to show a high prevalence of induced abortion in countries where fertility remains high or is just beginning to decline. In the opinion of investigators and many government officials, the current prevalence is higher than itIn countries that have achieved a low fertility level, what success can be attributed to the liberalization of abortion laws? Should high fertility countries liberalize their abortion laws as well?